International Postal Update — October 2009October 1, 2009
NATIONAL POSTS LOOK TO “GO GREEN”
POSTAL SERVICES AIM TO CONTROL CARBON FOOTPRINT
At the behest of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), many government postal services are working to measure, report, and control their carbon emissions, as well as to initiate eco-friendly programs. These initiatives involve varying levels of participation and cost, from simply benchmarking an enterprise’s current carbon footprint to setting targets for compliance. Because many national posts have large vehicle fleets, postal leaders face pressure to reduce emissions linked to global warming.
By the end of 2009, the UPU hopes to announce preliminary results for an initial assessment of the greenhouse-gas emissions of member postal services. This effort, the GHG Global Overview and Mitigation Project, began in June 2008.
The International Post Corporation (IPC), a cooperative undertaking of 24 of the world’s leading postal systems, has also commissioned a new system — dubbed the Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) — that will be presented at the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009. Essentially an interactive questionnaire, the EMMS has been designed to make measurement of carbon emissions uniform and systematic for both postal services and private corporations, with the intent of allowing policymakers and investors to assess how well enterprises are executing carbon-reduction strategies.
Support is widespread, and many postal services have launched websites touting such eco-initiatives as energy-use reduction, alternative fuels for transport fleets, green packaging, and new construction and retrofit guidelines.
UNITED STATES AND CUBA HOLD POSTAL TALKS
In the wake of an agreement negotiated in May, the governments of the United States and Cuba met in September to discuss restoring direct mail service. Cuba has been under a U.S. embargo for almost fifty years, and direct mail service has been suspended since 1963. In an official statement from the Cuban foreign ministry, Cuba emphasized the need to eliminate “discriminatory restrictions derived from the embargo” in line with norms and principles established by the Universal Postal Union, of which both countries are members.
JAPAN MAY HALT POSTAL PRIVATIZATION
In the wake of the landslide defeat of Japan’s long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party in August, newly elected Liberal Party leaders say they may act before the end of the year to put a hold on the breakup and privatization of Japan Post. This would represent a sharp reversal of Liberal Democratic plans to sell off the Japanese postal service as well as its enormously influential postal bank, whose 178 trillion Yen (roughly US$2 trillion) in deposits make it the largest bank in the world. Japan Post now consists of four entities operating under a government-owned holding company. Portions of those holdings had been scheduled to be sold off as early as 2010.
LATIN AMERICAN POSTS EXPAND FINANCIAL SERVICES
National posts in nine Latin American countries have signed on to the money-transfer system pioneered by the national posts of Spain, Chile, and Uruguay in 2008. The leaders of the national posts of Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru committed to the project at a meeting facilitated by the UPU in Costa Rica.
The money-transfer service is part of the UPU’s regional development plan for Latin America. Under Director General Edouard Dayan, the UPU has devoted significant attention to helping national posts develop money-transfer and other financial services.